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Pollsters watched Guinta's favorability drop as campaign contributions story unfolded

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 27. 2015 9:06PM


Pollsters at the University of New Hampshire saw the favorability of 1st District Rep. Frank Guinta slide during May, as their 17-day-long polling coincided with the fallout over the Republican's illegal campaign contributions.

The fallout was dramatic: 36 percent of First Congressional District residents viewed Guinta as favorable in early May. Within little more than two weeks, nearly half the respondents -- 49 percent -- viewed Guinta as unfavorable, according to the latest Granite State Poll.

The latest Granite State Poll contacted 567 randomly selected Granite State residents between May 6 and May 22. The poll started about a week before news of the FEC fine against Guinta broke; it ended four days after Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the highest ranking elected Republican in the state, said she would resign if she were him.

► Click here to view the complete poll results.

Andy Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, said Granite State Polls usually don't take as long as this month's poll. But the May poll was longer because of the end of the school year.

"It allowed us to catch this trend," he said, adding that it also shows that there are some factors -- termed "historical events" -- that pollsters can't control.

Before the story broke, Guinta was viewed as favorable by 36 percent of residents and unfavorable by 29 percent, according to the poll. Shortly after Ayotte made her statement, sentiment had flipped: 49 percent viewed Guina unfavorably; only 20 percent were favorable.

Guinta favorability
Source: UNH Survey Center graphic

"Guinta's favorability in this poll began to slide after the FEC story came out and then dipped dramatically after Senator Ayotte and others called for his resignation from Congress," the poll results read.

Smith stressed that it probably wasn't just Ayotte the prompted the decline. Others also called for Guinta to resign, and the Union Leader had a powerful editorial, he noted.

On average, the poll has Guinta with a 40 percent unfavorable rating, but Smith said that incorporates results throughout the polling period.

Guinta favorability
Source: UNH Survey Center graphic

Smith said Guinta's current favorability is more likely to be closer to the 49 percent, but a July poll will give a better indication.

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